Tag Archives: 2013

New wearable technology to use tattoo as microphone

electronic-tattooIn May this year, we reported how researchers at the University of Carolina had created a Brain Machine Interface – a tattoo-like wireless device that attached to the forehead and could therefore allow for a computer to be controlled by the brain itself. Google have taken on a similar approach for their Google Glass, with a “neck tattoo” that contains a tiny wireless microphone that can be used for any mobile device. The hands-free concept will connect to the device via Bluetooth, Infrared or other short-range technology and there are talks that could also have a power supply that uses energy from the user’s body.

According to the patent that was filed on 7th November, the throat microphone should help reduce the amount of street noise many current mobile users deal with. Although throat microphones are currently used in military environments and were originally used in World War II, business analysts are unsure whether something as permanent as a tattoo would be attractive to a mass market. This Motorola device could take years to be approved but it’s interesting to see how mobile communications are planning to evolve.

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VGA to be completely wiped out by 2015

Vision-TC2-VGATP-300x200All of the major computer manufacturers have claimed that all VGA outputs will be replaced by DisplayPort and HDMI in the next couple of years. LVDS, the native signal that carries video around the computer is being replaced by DisplayPort by giants such as Intel and AMD but what does this mean for the AV industry?

Although DisplayPort is more suited to many of our requirements, HDMI is already used widely and is therefore a more likely choice. The actual cable will likely be replaced by CAT5e and CAT6 (also known as a twisted pair) and although CAT5 in common now, it’s worth making the gradual changeover now.

If you are using CAT5 but with VGA at each end, Vision have released a solution that sends VGA over a CAT5 cable. This device costs roughly the same as installing a 20m VGA cable anyway, so this solution is future proof and inexpensive.

With a similar concept, Vision’s HDMI solution can send the HDMI over CAT5e and CAT 6 cables whilst converting and amplifying the signal over all four twister pair wires.

Even more complex is HDBaseT, which allows up to five signals to pass through a single CAT6 cable without compression. This innovative technology is the first step in eliminating the need for a power supply and this will allow flat panels to become thinner and lighter but for now the concept is very expensive.

These particular products are likely to favour digital signage applications thanks to their affordable price and professional quality. If you would like further information on cables and networking, please feel free to contact us.

Video conferencing to lead business communications by 2016

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A report completed by Redshift Research has confirmed that the desire for video conferencing in all business is growing and that by 2016; over half of the business managers questioned want to be using it as their preferred communications tool. At the moment email and voice/conference calls are more popular but 76 per cent have admitted to using video conferencing at work, 56 per cent of which utilize the equipment at least once a week.

Using video conferencing tools at home such as Skype is still more common than in the workplace, with 83 per cent using the systems and most of these were in the 20-30 age group. Although desktops and laptops were the primary source for business video conferencing, conference room usage is expected to rise to 55 per cent in three years’ time. Mobile devices are on similar figures to the conference rooms, showing how important further collaboration development is for the AV market.

The three main reasons that caused managers favoured video meetings was the ability to hear everyone coherently, see eye contact and body language and the fact it is easy to use. We can offer an array of different systems dependent on size and usage, so please feel free to contact us so that you beat the boom.

 

Tablet popularity continues to grow in UK

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According to a new report from eMarketer, a third of the British population now use a tablet at least once a month whether it’s their own, or shared by the family. It is predicted that by 2017 half of the population will be using a tablet regularly, due to a recent variety in prices. With the likes of Tesco’s small Hudl being far cheaper than current favourite iPad, it’s expected that Apple’s sales will drop in coming years.

The growing use of tablets in the education sector has had a real effect, with the under 12 audience rapidly growing and if these predictions are anything to go by, tablets will be a norm in every classroom. With this and the fact that several corporate companies are embracing the BYOD format, clients should be looking into future proofing their AV system. The majority of equipment on the market is now compatible with both Android and iOS devices and the applications are endless.

If you are interested using tablets for presentation, collaboration or control, please contact us and our consultants can arrange a free on site demo for your team.

Microsoft’s Illumiroom is dimmed down for now

illumiroomBack in May this year, you would have seen our news article on Microsoft’s Illumiroom project, which uses projection and a Kinect to create an immersive space for gaming and films. Despite being every tech lover’s dream, it appears we won’t be seeing this in our living rooms anytime soon, according to a senior Microsoft executive.

According to their head of product planning, the set up could cost up to thousands of dollars per customer, which just isn’t plausible and so for now the concept will remain as “just research”. Despite the Xbox One being launched, there was no specific talk linking to the Illumiroom and apparently many were sceptical due to the average customer not owning a projector for home use. With this and the BBC’s visual equivalent of surround sound mentioned in the last few months, it will be interesting to see if any further developments appear by the end of 2013.

Interactive digital signage is far from despicable

140-Grand-VIsual-Despicable-MeHave your children dragged you over to a Despicable Me 2 sign yet? If they have we don’t blame them, as Universal Pictures have come up with a promotional campaign that integrates smart phone control, interactive digital signage and social media sharing. The ‘Command the Minions’ campaign allows users to control the characters on screen with their smartphones and then watch the movements instantly, with the viewer’s name displayed to say thanks.

The interactive campaign was set up by Clear Channel, planned and coordinated by TED@MediaCom and powered by an app designed by Grand Visual. By either texting or tweeting a shortcode, the technology links from an SMS or web app to allow up to 30 animated sequences to be commanded. OpenLoop, the campaign management dashboard, helped create the real time interaction and personalised response in the specific mall. To continue the promotion, the user will then receive a text with a code that can share your “movie” on your social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign is currently running on 259 screens in 51 shopping malls across the UK, France, Spain, Norway and Finland, so keep an eye out and give it a try for yourself. Below is a video to demonstrate.

If you are interested in implementing some interactive digital signage for your business, feel free to contact us to discuss some ideas.

Is the hype of 3D already dying out?

3DTV_glassesIMAGEEntering a 3-dimensional world through our screens became all the rage when the likes Avatar created an immersive experience filled with colour. The thought of putting on these magical glasses was exciting and previous films were reborn with this extra technology. Then we wanted it in our living rooms, to make home cinema even greater and while we’re at it, let’s watch the football with it too.
Obviously, every company caught on and televisions were made with built-in 3D capabilities and glasses sold additionally, as families crowded round the flat screen for a futuristic night in. Nowadays is another story, with those who have the necessary hardware not tending to bother with it, especially just for television and this is why the BBC will be abandoning the idea until 2016 at least. ESPN also decided to ditch the extra dimension last month with 3D sports broadcasts being shut down by the end of the year.

Apparently the audience find the concept “too hassly”, due to the glasses and the arguments over the best seat to capture the quality. Not only that but many have complained about lack of colour and the fact that often television is not the sole activity you’ll be doing and therefore the glasses interfere with other activities such as checking your phone, or talking to others in the room. Although most high end TV sets available on the high street do have 3D capabilities, its likely that if this decrease continues, manufacturers will push 4K more than ever.

Its not just in the home where the hype is starting to fade. Despite many cinemas introducing new passive glasses thought to be more comfortable, films don’t seem to be grasping the use of the technology and there is a lack of objects flying out in your face, despite a hefty ticket price and probable headache. If the third dimension is already dying out in home cinema, it will be interesting to see if recent digital signage applications will hit it off. This year’s ISE event showcased LG’s 3D video wall, which received a huge buzz due to no glasses being needed.

What are your thoughts on 3D?

Germany tests out talking train windows

bone conduction technologyBBDO Germany are using bone conduction technology to create adverts that start playing to a passenger when they lean their head on the window.

Bone conduction technology is a technique where sound is transmitted to the inner ear by passing vibrations through the skull and makes it feel as though the sound is coming from inside the users’ head. Advertising company BBDO developed the concept for broadcasters Sky Deutschland and the Talking Window campaign was showcased recently at the Cannes’ Festival of Creativity.

The audio is created by a transmitter made by Audiva and is attached to the windows, yet no one else can hear the message around you. Although this concept may sound very annoying for the public just wanting to rest their tired heads, this is only the beginning and the future may hold several more applications, including entertainment, music or transport information, wiping out headphones on trains.

You may have heard about bone conduction technology before in out Tech Zone, as it has been used for the sound on the latest phenomenon Google Glass. Other applications that have already been created using the technology is hearing aids, headphones for swimmers and athletes and for magician’s illusions.

We just thought we’d give you a head’s up before you worried you were going insane from the voices inside your head.

For more audio solutions, please feel free to contact us.

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The rise of tablets in education

It was obvious tablets were going to continue their popular demand in the education sector but for many it was a surprise just how quick the increase has occurred. The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) have compiled some interesting facts regarding the needs and hopes for schools, so we put a few of the important stats into an infographic for you.

For more information on school technology please feel free to contact us. We have a wide client base in the education sector and some of work can be found on our Education page.

New touch screen technology thought to be more energy efficient

Touch screen experts Peratech have created a solution for touch screen applications that allows for a more energy efficient system. Due to the QTC Ultra Sensor being placed behind the screen, there is no loss of light from the display, meaning less battery is used.

This technology has been working best with OLED and e-paper type displays but can also be used on other products. LCD is not advised as they cannot really be pressed. Normally touch screen devices require a layer over the top of the display, which causes slight light loss, so having the technology behind the screen means brightness and quality in the image will not be lost.

QTC, which stands for Quantum Tunnelling Composite material, means the material changes its resistance when pressure is applied and only then. It means power is only used when the screen is touched, unlike previous technologies that need continual power for the active sensing matric. Apparently the QTC will also be a lot cheaper, due to limitless size opportunities regardless of the matrix interference and the company have already made examples that are 2m by 1m.

It will probably be a while until this concept is brought onto the high street, so if you have any queries or requirements involving touch screen now, please feel free to contact us.